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After-school jobs prep teens for the work world.

 Whether mixing malts at the mall, stocking shelves at the shoe stor,e or flinging fries at the fast-food store, teenagers are working at part-time jobs all over. After school, on weekends and during school vacations, adolescents are sampling the working world and earning their own money, usually for the first time. 

Although most teens seek work primarily for the pay it will provide, a job can offer additional rewards, such as professional and personal training for adult life. After-school jobs for teens are not just about earning gas money.

What money management lessons can kids learn by holding part-time jobs?

1. Hard work pays off.

For most people, easy money is not nearly as satisfying as earned funds. Parents who do not encourage their teens to obtain jobs actually may rob their young adults of this wonderful sense of accomplishment.

Does anyone ever forget that very first real paycheck? How about the first pay raise, particularly if it has been awarded for on-the-job merit or achievements?

2. Character actually does count.

Many companies offer employee-of-the-month programs. Workers who display reliability, dependability, honesty, effort, personal initiative, and other positive character traits may see their names embossed on brass plates and displayed at the workplace for all to see. Perhaps a photo will be added. Maybe the employee-of-the-month will be featured on the company’s website.

Recognition at the workplace is rewarding, particularly for young up-and-coming future careerists. Regardless of the nature of the first job, who doesn’t love to be appreciated and featured? What’s more, employees who consistently display strong character will be most likely to earn performance bonuses, which will spell greater earnings.

3. Punctuality earns points.

Anyone can do the math here. Arriving on time for a job is essential. A teen will quickly discover the need to be on-site before his or her shift begins. Along the same lines, clocking out on time (no earlier or later, unless the employer approves it) will reap rewards as well.

On the other hand, failure to adhere to the employer’s schedule will lead to negative consequences, perhaps including the loss of the job. Punctuality is a powerful statement of an employee’s reliability, and a basic expectation of all employers.

4. Organization is essential.

Personal organization is paramount to any profession. Teens who hold part-time jobs will learn procedures for performing tasks and probably also for record-keeping.

At home, as adolescents begin bringing home paychecks, they will enjoy hands-on lessons in basic banking and bookkeeping. They will have to file tax withholding forms, as well as annual tax returns. By doing so, most will be pleased to receive tax refunds!

5. Delayed gratification can be good.

Whatever the wage level, working teens learn to plan for important purchases. Quite quickly, they begin calculating how long it may take to earn sufficient funds for car expenses or other significant items.

Gainful employment also offers teens the ability to support their own recreational interests, such as movies and dining out with friends. By chipping hard-earned funds to pay for gasoline, a young adult may quickly become an expert on the rise and fall of oil prices, as well as other current economic trends.

Is there any more powerful way to learn firsthand the value of a dollar, besides earning that dollar on one’s own?

6. Savings strategies are super.

Wise parents will help teens to plan, right from the very first paycheck, to stash some cash in the bank. Why not take a teen to the bank, with that check in hand, and setting up an individual savings account? Perhaps the family has established trustee or custodial accounts for that child, with higher education and other interests in mind. However, the personal account has another purpose. By setting up a separate savings account with the teen, parents offer that youngster an opportunity to practice fiscal responsibility, without granting access to important long-term investments.

A teen who learns to pay himself or herself right away, in terms of savings, will benefit greatly in the long run. Even a savings deposit of $20 per paycheck can pile up over time.

7. Tithing builds trust.

Families who tithe will want to impress this upon teens, once they begin earning their own money. Many parents begin this when children are quite young, if they receive allowances or payment for babysitting or chores. Learning this early sets a young person up for a lifetime of blessing.

8. Working is worthwhile.

A teenager’s part-time job may require a certain level of commitment from the rest of the family, particularly the parents. Perhaps transportation will be needed, to and from work. Family schedules may need to be altered to accommodate the adolescent’s work schedule. Trips and vacations may be affected by hourly shifts and other job requirements.

Still, most families will determine that the teen’s job experience is well worth the cost.

9. After-school jobs can open doors for future employment.

Working teens often enjoy jump starts to their post-education careers that non-working young people do not have. It’s never too early to start networking, especially on the job. And how many working teenagers gain helpful professional and character references after proving themselves to be valuable employees?

Adapted from public domain artwork

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